Changes in My World View

by Jesse
The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 have had a giant impact and caused a huge shock wave throughout the whole world. In the United States, many people are now discussing and arguing the problems of American foreign policy, intelligence activities, and airport safety. While many people are arguing for a war with Afghanistan, whose government, the Taliban, harbors and aids the terrorists, others are insisting that America should consider its actions before getting involved in a foreign country’s problems. Before this tragedy, I had often contemplated and considered the dark side - the problems in the social and political systems in the United States, such as economic inequality, racial discrimination, drugs, guns, and violence. But now, I actually look at the affirmative side. After this tragedy, the more I have been learning about the background of this terrorist attack and the situation in the Middle East, the more I have recognized and admired the value of the human rights, liberty and freedom, and humanitarianism in the United States.

First of all, the 9-11 tragedy has made me have a new understanding about the importance of basic human rights. The right to live is so basic for people who live in the United States that we sometimes even forget its existence. However, even though we consider that the right to live should be one of the basic human rights by nature in the world, it is actually still not protected in many countries. Several days ago, I saw a news report on CNN, in which its reporter was recently in Afghanistan with a hidden compact camera. I was shocked to see the scene of a widow being executed in a soccer field in front of thousands of people because she had begged on the street, which is prohibited by the Taliban government. I have also read several articles about the current situation in Afghanistan; and now I have more knowledge about this country and the people there. This is a land where extreme poverty and religious fundamentalism control everything including human life. There are over 6 million refugees in the north part of the country and as many as 4 million widows whose husbands were killed by the Taliban or in the war against the soviets in Afghanistan. These people are now facing extreme poverty and death every day. This is a land where terrorists can train people to become hostile human beings and even commit suicide to kill others. Therefore, the more information and knowledge I have gained about Afghanistan or other countries in the Middle East, the more I recognize the importance of the basic human rights, which are firmly defended in the United States.

Besides, because of the 9-11 tragedy, I have reconsidered and appreciated the importance of freedom in the United States. Since the freedom of individual choice, speech, and religion have been seen as traditional values for American people for long time, people in the United States have tended to consider that these are rights by nature and sometimes even cannot recognize how important they are. Moreover, sometimes we even overstate the negative side of these rights. As a matter of fact, wide freedom has caused or increased the difficulty of solving some social problems such as use of guns and drugs and violence. However, after I learned about the situation the Afghanistan and the Middle East region, I have reevaluated and reconfirmed the importance of freedom though it has caused or included some social problems.

Furthermore, the 9-11 tragedy has made me recognize and rediscover the humanitarianism in the United States. The competitive social and economic systems have made cold relationships between people in the United States. However, after the 9-11 tragedy, I was surprised to see that so many people volunteered to help or raise funds to contribute for those who lose their families in this terrorist attack. Moreover, I am surprised to see that so many people in the United States are worried about the Afghan people and the refugees there. Even though there are some political reasons, I still admire the fact that the government of the United States is sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan refugees. Thus, because of the 9-11 tragedy, I have discovered the value of the humanitarianism that is deeply rooted in the United States.

Sooner or later, life in the United States will return to normal, and this tragedy will be recorded as one scene in history. The social problems such as inequality, drugs, guns, and violence will perhaps continue being big problems and issues in the United States. However, when I think about these issues, I will always be aware that even though there are many serious problems, the essential human rights and freedom are strongly protected, and humanitarianism is deeply ingrained in the United States.